A. Service overview and contact details
Focus of restorative justice (RJ) and restorative practice (RP) activities
Solas Project is a charity with a vision to see an Ireland where all children and young people truly know their self-worth and can take full advantage of their potential. It seeks to build long-term relationships with children and young people at risk of being marginalised by society, specifically through the education, employment and justice systems. It delivers a range of holistic interventions from childhood, through adolescence and into early adulthood. Its programmes include a prison programme (‘Compass’) that works with young people during and after custody and a youth justice project (‘Rua’) that works with young people involved in offending behaviour. Restorative values and principles underpin all aspects of its work and it seeks to use restorative approaches throughout. It places strong emphasis on building relationships with young people, offering practical support and nurturing personal development.
Year of commencement (RJ/RP elements)
Rua – 2017
Compass – 2014
Unit 1 Liberty View
Dublin D08 WY84
Tel: (01) 5520683
Head of service
Amy Carey, CEO
Solas Project has 18 staff members, including support staff, six of whom work with the Compass and Rua programmes.
Staff training in RJ/RP
The Justice Programmes Manager has a level 8 Qualification from Maynooth University in Restorative Practice. All Compass and Rua staff are trained in restorative practice interventions. The youth work staff in our other programmes have all undertaken restorative practice training.
Use of volunteers
Solas Project recognises the unique contributions of volunteers and the benefit for young people of building relationships with a wide range of trusting adults from various backgrounds. It currently has approximately 120 volunteers a week supporting the work across the six programmes.
Volunteer training in RJ/RP
Volunteers are trained internally, including in restorative practice.
Main source(s) of funding
Solas Project is part-funded by a number of bodies (including in 2019, the Irish Youth Justice Service, Pobal, City of Dublin ETB, the Probation service, the Irish Prison Service and Léargas) and benefits from donations, gifts and legacies. Volunteers donate their time.
€760,000 income in 2019
Nature of funding
Annual funding from funding agencies plus donations
Solas Project is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee, incorporated in 2007. It is managed by a board of directors.
Target client group (RJ/RP)
The Youth Justice programmes support young people in prison (in custody and post-release) and young people in the community who are involved in offending behaviour, aged 15 – 24.
Nature of offences
Rua and Compass are not limited to specific categories. However, Solas Project recognises that the nature of some offences is out of its areas of expertise; these include working with young people whose primary offences are sexual offences or repetitive fire setting behaviour.
Source of referrals
Self-referrals and referrals by prison staff, the Probation Service and the Garda Síochána.
Geographic area of activity
Dublin 8 for Rua and Dublin-wide for Compass.
B. Nature of RJ/RP service
RJ/RP services provided
One-to-one and small group interventions with young people operating from a restorative practice approach. Support work for formal restorative cautions from the court service.
Rua has capacity for 20 young people.
Compass has capacity to support 16 young people in the community and will engage up to 90 young people each year in the prison setting.
Solas Project is a community-based organisation working with young people from aged 5–24 years in the South West Inner City. It is involved in local community networks, collaborating regularly with other organisations and taking part in community events. The Youth Justice work is one element of its broader work. It has a large group of volunteers many of whom live and/or work in the local area.
Offender age and gender breakdown
Participants in 2020 ranged from 15–24 years. All were male. It is open to supporting young women but did not receive any referrals in 2020. The prisons it currently works in are all male settings.
C. Sources of further information
Solas Project: https://solasproject.com/
Charities Regulator: https://www.charitiesregulator.ie/en/information-for-the-public/search-the-register-of-charities/charity-detail?srchstr=Solas%20project®id=20064570